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The following is an excerpt from the CORE KNOWLEDGE website...
"Why Knowledge Matters
Is it really important that kids know things?  Shouldn't they just learn to think?
It's natural to assume that teaching lots of "stuff" isn't important anymore when students can simply Google anything they need to know.  But you probably take for granted how much "walking-around knowledge" you carry inside your head-and how much it helps you.  If you have a rich base of background knowledge, it's easier to learn more.  And it's much harder to read with comprehension, solve problems and think critically if you don't.
The idea that we have to choose between knowledge and thinking skills is a false choice.  Kids need both.  "The richer the knowledge base, the more smoothly and effectively cognitive processes-the very ones that teachers target--operate,"  notes University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham.  "So, the more knowledge students accumulate the smarter they become."
An education grounded in shared knowledge of history, science, art and music is also the great equalizer.  The Core Knowledge Foundation believes that for the sake of academic excellence, greater equity, and higher literacy, elementary and middle schools need to teach a coherent, cumulative, and content-specific core curriculum.
Our society cannot afford a two-tiered system in which the affluent have access to a superior education, while everyone else is subjected to a dull and incoherent classroom experience.  Academic excellence, educational equity and fairness demand a strong foundation of knowledge for all learners.
--E.D. Hirsh, Jr. "
For more information about the CORE KNOWLEDGE program, go to their website at http://www.coreknowledge.org/sequence